Super Bowl means super business for Duluth takeout restaurantsAs an event, the Super Bowl inspires gluttony of a magnitude that may rank second only to Thanksgiving.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
As an event, the Super Bowl inspires gluttony of a magnitude that may rank second only to Thanksgiving.
But unlike at Thanksgiving, many Americans spend little time in the kitchen in advance of the big game. Instead, they’re content to leave the food preparation to others.
National Restaurant Association research shows that 31 percent of people who tune in to the game at home do so with restaurant food at hand. That’s about 48 million people chowing down on either takeout or delivery fare.
Another 12 million or so football fans took in the game at a restaurant or bar, if association estimates proved true.
Topping the list of Super Bowl favorites are chicken wings and pizza, cited as game time requisites by 63 percent and 61 percent of respondents respectively, in a national survey by the restaurant association.
Brice Hansen, manager of the Duluth Buffalo Wild Wings, said he expected to sell about 3,000 chicken wings to takeout customers Sunday.
While that may sound like a lot of chicken, Hansen said: “It’s not that much compared with other more established Buffalo Wild Wings. Some will do 10,000 wings today.”
In addition to takeout business, Hansen also expected a full house for the game, and he was prepared Sunday with a full complement of staff on duty.
“Nobody gets today off,” he said.
Hansen said he expected close to a 300 percent uptick in business because of the Super Bowl.
Theresa Coyle, dayside manager at the Little Caesar’s Pizza on Duluth’s West Michigan Street, predicted the game would double her business Sunday.
“We’ve got extra dough and extra people,” she said, declaring: “We’re ready.”
Kou Vang left Little Caesar’s balancing a stack of six pizza boxes shortly before kickoff Sunday. He planned to watch the game with friends and said: “It’s the Super Bowl. You’ve gotta have pizza.”
Marty Kalishek, a shift supervisor at Sammy’s Pizza in Lakeside, anticipated only a modest 25-percent-or-so bump in business because of the Super Bowl.
“I expect we’ll be a little busier than usual but not crazy,” he said.
Interest in this year’s game was lackluster compared with last year, when the Green Bay Packers took the field, Kalishek said.
“People are definitely more interested when their team is in the game,” he said. But Kalishek observed that many people will tune in regardless of the match-up, if only to watch the commercials.
Jenessa Kutzler, an assistant manager at Papa Murphy’s Pizza in Duluth, said business this year seemed to be running just as strong as last year, even with NFC North teams out of contention.
“I don’t think the economy has had much of an effect,” Kalishek said. “When it comes to the Super Bowl, people do it up.”
Roger Moerke, manager of Bulldog Pizza & Grill, beefed up his staffing Sunday and said: “We’ll get a bump from the game, but it won’t be as insane as it used to be.”
Unlike Kalishek, Moerke suspects slower business in recent years has been the result of a weak economy.
After 14 years in the pizza business, Moerke knew what to expect Sunday. Orders surge as the game approaches and continue early into the game. Then, they drop off quickly.
“Everyone wants their pizza by halftime. After that, it gets pretty quiet,” he said.
Woody Woodbridge, the manager of a Domino’s Pizza on Duluth’s Central Entrance, projected his sales would be about double the daily norm on Sunday. He expected about one-quarter of the business to come via the Internet.
Thanks in large part to the popularity of ordering online, Domino’s Pizza raised the bar on expectations this year. The company set out to sell 11 million slices of pizza nationwide on Sunday — about 2 million pieces more than it did last Super Bowl. That’s a lot of pizza pie.